No past or present politicians have been found to have been involved in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia thus far, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Tuesday.
Abela was addressing a press conference at Castille, hours after Vincent Muscat pleaded guilty to his part in the assassination of the journalist.
Abela said that the events of the past hours are a confirmation that the institutions are working and providing positive results.
The fact that someone admitted to the crime and was imprisoned for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia is another step for justice, he said. He stressed that the family of the journalist, the country and the journalist herself deserve to see justice done.
Abela said that Cabinet, on Monday, accepted the advice given by the Attorney General and the police, that Vince Muscat be granted a Presidential Pardon in the Carmel Chircop murder case. The President, he said, on Tuesday endorsed Cabinet’s recommendation and the pardon was granted, under a number of conditions.
The pardon’s conditions are that Vincent Muscat tells the whole truth about the case he is being given a Presidential pardon for and that he returns the proceeds of crime he received in connection to the homicide. Abela said that the government intends to publish the Presidential pardon in the spirit of transparency
Prime Minister Abela said that a number of people were arrested in relation to this homicide over the past hours, and it also resulted in the police intensifying its investigations in relation to the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination.
Abela said that he has full faith in the police to lead the investigations and in the Attorney General. He said the government is committed to backing the country’s institutions.
Asked about the delay on the arrest of the suspected bomb makers, given that their names have been known for a while, the Prime Minister spoke about the changes made within the Police Force over the past year, including the appointment of a new police commissioner, the method of appointment and reforms in the Police Force itself. “We are seeing the result of the reforms. Today, we also had the first person found guilty in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.”
He was asked whether Vince Muscat will have to provide details on other cases; whether from the information Muscat has given there are any current or former politicians implicated in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia; and whether from the information Muscat gave to the police, the unsolved bombings in the country over the past years will be solved?
In terms of whether other cases will be solved or not, he said that currently cases are ongoing and that it is not his role as Prime Minister to comment on investigations. He said he needs to be careful in how he answers so as not to prejudice investigations and procedures which might eventually be taken against other people.
The result of investigations thus far do not show that there were people who were or are in politics who are connected to the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder, he said.
Abela was asked if there are any other pardons envisaged on for Vince Muscat in relation to other crimes and if he expects further arrests in the coming days. Abela said that in terms of whether there will be other Presidential proclamations granted he cannot say, as he can only comment on requests before Cabinet. “There are no other requests pending.” As for other arrests, he said he is not the investigator and could not comment.
Asked about the arrests made yesterday, if they were tied to the murder of Caruana Galizia or Carmel Chircop, he was not clear in his answer and said that the arrests were made after the Presidential pardon was given. “Naturally we will let the police conduct their investigations and according to their outcome and what the Police Commissioner informs us about, you will be informed with further details.”